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Iran eyes influx of fans for World Cup in nearby Qatar

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran is hoping to host visitors flocking to nearby Qatar for the 2022 World Cup finals, with officials boosting flights and readying hotels for an expected influx of football fans.

“The Qataris are very interested in using Iran’s infrastructure in the 2022 World Cup,” Transport Minister Rostam Ghassemi told reporters on Tuesday.

“Iran must use all the capabilities it has to benefit from this event,” he added, following a two-day visit by his Qatari counterpart.

On Sunday and Monday, Qatari Transport Minister Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti visited Iran’s Kish island – 270 kilometres northeast of Doha – and signed six cooperation agreements, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported.

Kish is a 40-minute flight or six-hour boat ride from Doha.

Key among the agreements was a deal to increase flights between the countries, rising from 72 at present to potentially as many as 200 a day, said head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation Mohammad Mohammadi.

“Iran’s contribution to the World Cup will be in the areas of air and sea transport and accommodation of foreign and Iranian passengers,” Ghassemi said.